Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word endure as “the act of experiencing (pain or suffering) for a long time”. Sometimes when I read the story of Joseph (Genesis 37), it still amazes me how he was able to withstand the trials he endured. I mean he was hated and abandoned by his brothers, neglected, lied on, lost his position, imprisoned, and forgotten. For some of us, we would have given up a long time ago or even thrown a pity party but Joseph trusted God that he would endure whatever came his way.
The ability to withstand the tests that come in our lives is an act of endurance. How do you handle your singleness, being barren (unable to have children), when you lose your job, when the financial aid check doesn’t come through, when your spouse walks out on you or you lose a loved one? I learned a long time ago that behind every smile, there are tears waiting to fall which means it’s easy to put on your shouting shoes on Sunday for the live audience but when everyone exits is when your faith is truly tested.
There have been times when I’ve been at the bottom and the strength to stand seemed impossible so I questioned God. Why would He allow me to go through this? Am I not yours, Lord? Job, who lost his children, property and wealth, said, “Look, I go forward, but He is not there, And backward, but I cannot perceive Him; When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him. But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10).
One thing about Joseph is that he knew God would not forsake him so he held on. How easy is that? Will it be that easy for the woman whose husband is out of work and struggling to pay all the bills on her own yet feed the children or the man who was falsely imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit? But like Job, God will not leave nor forsake us. He is faithful and just. David said “The Lord preserves all who love Him” (Psalm 145:20).
So, what does it mean to endure? It’s the fact of trusting God knowing that He has your best interest at heart. Like Daniel, He won’t leave you in the pit. For some of us, we have had more sorrow than joy or rainy days than sunshine; but the one who loved us so much that He sent His son to die for us, promised to never leave us. The fact is before the foundation of the world He knew us and the potential that would inundate within us in the midst of every trial or test we had to endure.
In his love letter to us, He shares deeply His desire to give us His best. “If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace” (Exodus 18:23). Endure to the end for the promise is still available to you.